Escaping the suburbs.
This should have been an easy stroll but we arrived in Arona hot and sweaty after a frustrating morning and a climb of 900m. We had underestimated the climb and distance and come to realise our map is poor. The GR131 didn’t exist on this section. Not a good start and in the evening we need a good meal and wine to lift our spirits.
From our airbnb we headed down to the harbour and began a coastal walk – the well known Los Cristianos, Playa de las Vistas and Playa de las Americas. It is already above 20°, people are heading for the beach, joggers are sweating past and the hint of full English breakfasts wafts out of the cafes. In fact we stop off for an orange juice and scrambled egg. There has been no sign of any waymarks for the GR131 but we follow the red line depicted on my map and head inland. Busy roads are negotiated and the motorway crossed. We are feeling pleased with ourselves until we become trapped in a new housing maze not shown on the map. The hills can be seen across vast banana plantations, but there is no way out and we turn tail and head down again, always a humiliating experience. The locals can’t help and thoughts of giving up cross our minds as we traipse the pavements and overheat. By chance, we meet a Dutch couple doing a circular walk, their GPS points us onto a scruffy lane marked private. At last we are heading into the hills up this narrow road which leads to a water pumping station. A fortunate small arrow points our way and silver paint marks help keep us on a small track up to an aqueduct crossing the now rough hillside towards Roque del Conde. However familiar plants appear, deep gorges drop away and we feel in the wilds at last. Steep climbing brings us to a col with views back down to the holiday sprawl. In complete contrast, an isolated pig and goat farm is passed which looks to be in another century. Steep lanes lead into the small town of Arona where lots of walkers seem to be congregating, no doubt having enjoyed pleasanter paths than ours. There is no accommodation here so we hop on a bus, full of walkers, back down to Los Cristianos.